Friday, January 7, 2011

Why Losing is So Big

Our George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers staff today launched a new edition of our own "Biggest Loser" competition to promote healthy weight loss within our workforce. This is our sixth round of the program modeled after the popular television show, and it includes our largest number of participants to date.

Organized by our human resources department, this friendly competition provides weekly challenges, nutrition and fitness resources, encouraging emails and Friday morning weigh-ins. The winner is the person who loses the largest percentage of weight, which provides a fair playing field for those who may not need nor wish to lose as many pounds as others. Thus far, a nurse named Tina in our Hillcrest Center is our reigning champ, having lost the most weight in all five previous competitions. She's both formidable and admirable.

Many caregivers also resolve to lose weight in order to maintain their own health so that they can continue to meet their loved ones' needs. The goal can be challenging for a number of reasons, from genetics to finances. No doubt many processed and prepared foods are more readily available (and less expensive) than fresh produce and dairy. Time to exercise at least 30 minutes most days may to tough to find.

Those with very limited means may be encouraged by the number of farmer's markets now accepting EBT ("food stamps") transactions. And more consumers in low- and middle-income areas are demanding better produce from their local grocers. For those at the other spectrum, a growing industry will prepare and often deliver fresh meals for you. When it comes to exercise, it can be fun for you and your loved one to go for walks or work out to exercise DVDs at home -- some of which you can borrow from your public library.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and exercise leaves you with more energy to tend to tasks and a new daily structure that has its own rewards. You'll sleep better too. Just remember that what you want is a permanent lifestyle change, not a temporary weight loss solution. Whatever method or strategy you employ to shed pounds and firm up, we hope it works and can be sustained over a lifetime.